As Dan Royer explains in this intro video, at this point robots are firmly in the purview of larger companies and research institutions. It wasn’t too many years ago that the state of affairs was the same for 3D printers, but now they can be had for under $200 for a rather functional unit, and are used by a wide range of people to make a multitude of creations. Royer’s idea with his company Marginally Clever Robots is to make an open source robotics arm that brings robotics to the masses, in the same way that pioneers like Prusa printers did with the 3D printing industry.
Royer’s latest project, in collaboration with Jin Han, is the Sixi 2 six-axis robot arm. As seen in the Instagram clip below, it’s beautifully made, with a robust motor forming the shoulder, and several others arranged at different positions. Currently, the device runs on an Arduino Mega with a custom PCB designed in KiCAD, though the design is still very much a work in progress. The eventual goal is to have the arm be able to carry a 2kg payload with an 840mm reach.
If you’d like to find out more about this project, or even contribute, more information on the robot is available on GitHub, and they’re posting about their progress on YouTube and Instagram. While six-axis robot arms are still out of the budget of most hobbyists today, it will be interesting to see how this develops. Perhaps one day they’ll be as common as 3D printers—or maybe even function as such with an extruder attachment!